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LETTER | Securities Commission, a forward-thinking regulator

LETTER | While many questioned the sudden exit of top officials from the Securities Commission (SC), I'd like to highlight the great work these policymakers have done during their tenure.

Cryptocurrency's mainstream adoption and general acceptance, especially by the retail space in Malaysia today, would not have happened if not for the good policy work done by these top officials who left or are leaving the SC, as well as many others who are still within the SC.

Back in late 2017, when Luno's bank account was frozen by Malaysian banks and operations shut down, we had to scramble and work desperately to turn things around for more than 100,000 Luno customers.

Malaysian banks were de-risking and were not receptive to banks with crypto companies due to a lack of crypto regulation.

Even with Bank Negara's sector 6 policy, published in Feb 2018, it was not sufficient as that policy only dealt with issues in relation to Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).

Crypto was still not legally recognised as anything in the eyes of the law.

Our desperate pleas, to say the least, went to multiple government agencies. Most fell on deaf ears, with one government official even telling me that I should exit Luno from Malaysia and find another job.

But that didn't deter us, we kept lobbying whoever we could speak to knowing we'd turn things around.

And we did. Through the Innovation team led by Chin Wei Min and Zhong Yang Chan, SC's working level took notice.

We shared our predicament and provided market data that we had to propose crypto regulations. To our lovely surprise, SC's team shared they were already looking to regulate crypto as a form of securities since the year 2016.

Fast forward to late 2019, collectively through various teams within the SC, they managed to get crypto regulation through with the Ministry of Finance, and expanded capital market regulation to include crypto.

This was a bold move, especially when it was done at a time when most governments were shunning crypto. SC took the path less taken and became one of the first few regulators globally to regulate crypto.

The new regulation then allowed crypto exchanges to apply and operate under the regulated market operator framework. Luno then applied to operationalise our exchange and the rest was history.

Malaysia would never have experienced tremendous crypto growth in 2021, to the tune of exceeding RM4.2 billion in transaction volume, if the SC had not instilled trust with good regulations in this space.

So I'd like to thank Syed Zaid, the outgoing chairperson, Chin, Zhong, Foo Lee Mei, and countless others who are still working hard within the SC including Shamsul Bahriah Shamsudin, Kamarudin Hashim, Anil Joshi, Mohamad Nor Azizi, and many others for the years of silent effort in making good policies and regulating the crypto space.

Even with a new chairperson Awang Adek Hussin in place, I'm confident the good work will continue as SC as an organisation has always taken an open door policy in regulating and expanding the capital market.

DAVID LOW is the Asia Pacific general manager of Luno.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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